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Advantages and Disadvantages of Caesarean Sections Bristol

Whether you are already planning an ‘elective’ Caesarean or a normal delivery, understanding what is involved in this common operation can alleviate a lot of fears.

Brook Advisory Centre
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Brook Advisory Centre, 1 Unity Street
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Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology University of Bristol St Michaels Ho
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Advantages and Disadvantages of Caesarean Sections

Caesareans - get the facts to stay in control

Whether you are already planning an ‘elective’ Caesarean or a normal delivery, understanding what is involved in this common operation can alleviate a lot of fears. Obstetrician Meg Wilson has the essential facts for prospective Mums.

Meg Wilson By  Meg Wilson Supernanny Expert 06/03/2007

Delivery by Caesarean section is a hot topic for debate between mothers, doctors, midwives and governments.

Crucially, Caesarean section has saved the lives of thousands of women and babies and has played a part in drastically reducing the number of deaths during childbirth. However, as with any operation, there are immediate risks and potentially long term complications which fuel the controversy about Caesareans – it is often a difficult decision for mothers and doctors alike.

Too posh to push?

In my experience, the ‘too posh to push’ attitude is very rare amongst British mothers - most women prefer to have a normal delivery but will undergo the procedure for the benefit of their baby or themselves if advised by a health professional.

The World Health Organisation has suggested that hospitals should aim to have a Caesarean rate of less than 10-15%, however in most NHS hospitals the rate is closer to 20%. Caesarean sections are only performed in NHS hospitals when there is a concern about the safety of mother or baby.

Whether you are already planning an ‘elective’ Caesarean, you have been given the option of Caesarean or you are planning a normal delivery, it is well worth understanding what is involved in this common operation as this can alleviate a lot of fears.

Understand the Process

Pregnant woman Before you have a Caesarean section the reasons for this delivery should be explained very clearly to you and your birthing partner, and the doctors will only go ahead if you have agreed to the operation.

The major risks of Caesarean are blood loss and infection, but your Obstetrician will be doing everything they can to minimise these risks. You will also meet the anesthetist to talk about the anesthetic and pain relief for the operation. Most Caesarean sections are performed in an operating theatre located on the labour ward, probably even on the same corridor. This means you will have to be transferred to your local hospital if you are delivering at a birth centre or at home. Although the prospect of an operation may be terrifying, most women are pleasantly surprised that it was not as bad as expected - it can still be a very fulfilling experience for you and your birth partner.

Most Caesareans are performed under some form of regional anesthetic which will either involve using the epidural you had for pain relief in labour, or sitting you on the edge of the operating table and putting a ‘spinal’ anesthetic in your back. You will then lie down on the operating table and the anesthetist will spend time testing with a cold spray to check you are numb from the top of your tummy to your toes...

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